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Gray responds to Post's endorsement of Fenty

Christopher Dean Hopkins

Earlier today The Washington Post's editorial board announced its endorsement of the re-election of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in his race against D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, one of Fenty's first major endorsements in the race.

Senior strategist Mo Elleithee provided the Gray campaign's response:

We're not surprised. The editorial board has consistently signaled its support for the mayor since he was elected, and throughout this entire campaign. But even in its endorsement, The Post raises concerns about the Mayor's "secrecy about his travels," his "almost pathological unwillingness to consult outside his inner circle" and his awarding of "suspect contracts to friends," saying that these things "raise unsettling questions about his judgment."

A growing number of Washingtonians agree, and that's why we're seeing so much momentum for Vince Gray in this campaign. They are responding to his message of a holistic approach to education and job creation, restoring collaboration and ending cronyism. Ultimately it's the voters, not The Washington Post, who will decide the next mayor, and we're convinced they will pick Vince Gray on Sept. 14.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  July 30, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Vincent C. Gray  
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Next: Gray, Obama meet at Mystics game


And yet I note that this statement plays exactly into the WaPo criticism of Gray: running more on animus against Fenty and no articulation of his plans and vision for DC.

I intend to vote for Fenty but truth be told, neither candidate inspires me.

Posted by: Liebercreep | July 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree. It's the voters, not the Washington Post who will be casting their vote on Sept. 14th. I have never seen a newspaper vote. It's the people.

Hurry up Tuesday, September 14th!!

Posted by: samvped205 | July 30, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Another Grayism..
it might be a smart political move to answer the questions... and obviously he can't, or won't.. therefore.... no plan...

a vote for Gray is a vote for nothing ...
So, voters acknowledge all that has been done.. schools, housing, crime down.. or
support someone whose plan is to worry about not having baseball tickets (When actually he does.. and has a box.. and
how many of them has he given out???)

Gray hasn't given out his baseball tickets, doesn't post his travel, and certainly has NO VISION for DC.

Posted by: pdv1 | July 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I understand how this works. When the Gray camp gets an endorsement, they claim it's a symbol of everything. But when an endorsement goes to someone else, all of a sudden they don't matter.

Posted by: hungrypug | July 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Liebercreep- maybe you missed this in Gray's press release:

a holistic approach to education and job creation, restoring collaboration and ending cronyism

Posted by: efavorite | July 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

To Hungrypug:

You got it.. their campaign is nothing but negativism..

Posted by: pdv1 | July 30, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised that the Fenty cheerleaders are not celebrating this FIRST MAJOR ENDORSEMENT.

COULD IT BE THAT THEY ARE JUST A LITTLE WORRIED? It truly matters that the WP has endorsed Fenty but now in the way his supporters think. This endorsement from the WP which has Fenty in its pocket is a HUGE NEGATIVE. Perhaps a picture of a smiling Fenty would have helped.

Thanks WP.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | July 30, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I remember when the Post was begging Gray to run for Mayor to give fenty a credible opponent. They seemed very open to hear what he had to say.

Then Gray ran. But, instead of offering a vision...Gray chose to make his campaign about his dislike for Fenty. His campaign actively encourages disruption and disrespect.

As a result, mayoral debates have devolved into shouting matches. There is a level of negativity previously reserved for Klan rally's. Undecided voters aren't even given a chance to hear issues. And, the sitting DC mayor is shouted down by hecklers.

During all of this, Mr. Gray has not even tried to present a vision for the city. Now, in the heat of the election, he refuses to answer simple question. Will you keep Rhee. Answer: of course not. But, he isn't even forthright with that.

This endorsement was an easy one. And, the only acceptable one. Unless, that is, you are a Anybody but Fenty zealot. Or, Vincent Gray's daughter. Short of can't support Vince Gray on what he stands for. He doesn't stand for anything.

Posted by: politicalrealist | July 30, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Politicalrealist says, "mayoral debates have devolved into shouting matches. There is a level of negativity previously reserved for Klan rally's. Undecided voters aren't even given a chance to hear issues. And, the sitting DC mayor is shouted down by hecklers."

Hey, you should have come to the UDC forum last night. Fenty and Orange were invited, but only Gray and Brown showed up, so they had plenty of time to talk and there was no heckling.

Two undecided voters sitting in my row were Gray converts before the night was out. They started leaning Gray as soon as they realized Fenty didn't even bother to come. They were impressed with Gray's answers to hard questions, his intelligence and his vision for the city.

Posted by: efavorite | July 30, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe the "end justifies the means," which is what Fenty is really saying when he says he gets results. To me, Fenty is the negative one, because he basically says, it is my way or the high way, and that is the antithesis of democracy. Gray stands for inclusion, collaboration and human dignity. His vision is democratic and positive.

Posted by: tacard1 | July 30, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse


Nice narrative. But it proves my point. Fenty was not you guys didn't start heckling. Of course you are going to let your guy talk.

What you don't for Fenty to start rattleing off a laundry list of projects done in any given ward. You don't want to let those undecided voters hear him. It isn't an accident efavorite. Gray can't sit on a stage while Fenty proves that he deserves to complete his vision.

If Fenty had come last night. Those two undecided voters woulnd't have heard anything but "croney.booo.croney.boooo.halfwhiteboy.booooo.williamsdidthat.boooo" Everytime Fenty opened his mouth.

Gray's campaign is, for the most part, offensive and rude by design.

Posted by: politicalrealist | July 30, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse


When I used to argue with people in Law School I learned a lesson. Shut up when I don't know what I am talking about. Lawyers will make you look real stupid real fast. I would ask you to consider that the next time you step out there with a statment like the one you just mad.

1) Saying "I get results" in no way suggests "how i will get results." Why in the world would Fenty elevate the "manner" of getting results over the "accomplishment" of desired results?

If you were sick...would you care "how" the doctor saved your life? If someone killed your much real difference would it matter "how" it happened. And, if someone was albe to save her... would it matter "how" they saved her?

Be clear, that is the gravity of the decisions made by the Chief Executive of The District of Columbia. And, I don't care how Lanier lowered crime. I care that it is lowered. I don't care how Michelle Rhee fixes those schools. I care that they are fixed.

And, Fenty promised he would save the schools. He said he would lower crime. He said that he would make neighborhoods safer. I don't care if he made some overzealous ex-campaign worker in Ward 4 mad in the process.

I care that Fenty dilevered. If he hadn't, I would be saying throw him off the bridge. But, He delivered. RESULTS! SO, tell your boss Gray to keep his kumbaya choirs from around my house.

Pratt didn't do it. Barry didn't do it. Wiliams put his work in and you didn't respect him either. And, he endorsed Fenty. Fenty is doing it. Why would I go with a 70 year old man with a bad temper and NO AGENDA.

Posted by: politicalrealist | July 30, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse



There is a theory of political science that best explains the paradox you are attempting to trap the mayor in. And, why leaders like Michele Rhee are so valuable. Why it is almost impossible for them to work successfully in situations where they are limited by politicians that bow to opinion polls. And, consequently, why Fenty is MORE important to the educational reforms in DC than Rhee or any other individual. Parapharasing Hans Morgantheau:

"To confuse the morality of the individual with that of the Nation/State (or municipality)is to court disaster"

In other words, for example, the school system needs bad teachers removed. But, if the school's leader doesn't want people to lose their jobs....and, therefore, refuses to replace the teachers... Families are going to have a piss poor school system. Unions look out for individual teachers. They don't, as a result, have the best interests of the "system" at heart.

Fenty enabled Rhee to make a judgement in the best interest of the "educational system." Not the political needs of the Executive.

No sane individual wants to fire 500 people from a job. But, leader of companies have to do it if necessary. Waffling will cost even more jobs. No sane individual rejoices in the killing of another person. But Police officers know that they may have to do that on any given day. And, i assume that they would rest resonably well knowing they killed someone as a result of doing their job properly. It is not fair to judge the police officer as if he was next door neighbor that got drunk one evening.

That is why the personal attacks on Fenty are in such poor taste. Fenty the man does not want people to go hungry or loss their jobs. Fenty the Mayor has to fix the schools. Fenty the Mayor has to end gang wars, keep drugs off the streets, put kids in jail. Mayor Fenty is an executive. He isn't your friend.

I commend him for making the tough, unpopular, dispassionate decisions. It takes real character to do so with a political enemy bearing down your throat.

He is clearly demonstrating that he is best suited to be Mayor.

Posted by: politicalrealist | July 30, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

to politicalrealist and all the others who keep bringing up whether Gray will keep Rhee: Fenty said the same thing 4 years ago when people questioned him about keeping then Chief of Police Charles Ramsey. Fenty said no decisions would be made until after he took office. So back off. Gray is right in not making any decisions until after Sept. 14 and I'd say he should hold off until he is sworn in.

Besides, Rhee has already stated publicly she will not stay if Gray is elected so the point is moot. This is one time when I hope Rhee really sticks to what she says and leaves on the first flight to Sacramento on Sept. 15th. Hell, I'll buy the ticket and drive her to the airport....on no, wait, I forgot, she's the highest paid city employee (though the school system is very small in comparison to surrounding districts) and she has her own personal driver and car. So she can afford her own ticked and she has a way to the airport.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 30, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Politicalrealist says " Fenty was not you guys didn't start heckling. Of course you are going to let your guy talk."

People came to hear Fenty and Gray, but they just heard Gray -- and they were impressed! It wasn't us against them. It was just people just wanting to hear what the candidates had to say. But Fenty didn't show. this was held in Ward 3. there were' lots of white faces.

Fenty lost some votes that night. He didn't seem to care.

Posted by: efavorite | July 30, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I was actually AT the UDC forum last night and people did come to see Fenty speak. In fact, when it was announced that he had declined the invitation to the forum, about 10 people walked out. Were those lost Fenty votes? Maybe. Nonetheless, there were clearly converts there - those who were leaning toward Fenty but were swayed and impressed by Gray once they heard him speak. Interestingly, there were NO Fenty campaign workers there handing out literature and/or buttons or obtaining the contact information of attendees. There were also no signs around the sidewalk as there were for the candidates who attended and Vincent Orange (who also did not attend). What kind of political operation misses these types of obvious opportunities?????? Vincent Gray and Kwame Brown must have worked the room for a good 30 minutes before they spoke - another missed opportunity for Fenty. Fenty donors should be pi$$ed that they are giving money to a candidate who "can't make it work" like, EVER. Which leads me to believe about - Fenty an amateurish campaign for an amateurish mayor.

Posted by: missing_nawlins | July 30, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

missing_nawlins - thanks for adding detail to the UDC forum.

Odd wasn't it, that there were no Fenty signs around? You'd think he could have at least sent his green team out to plant some signs. Maybe Fenty figures he has Ward three all wrapped up, so no need to advertise further. What’s he planning to do with all that campaign money?

My favorite part was when one of the moderators posed a question to Gray about voters’ “enthusiastic response” to Michelle Rhee. A low rumble came up in the room, which sounded to me like the sound of a bunch of people nudging the person next to them and whispering, “Who’s enthusiastic about Rhee? Not me.”

My second favorite part was when the male moderator asked Gray how he’d work differently with Rhee if he were elected mayor and “Rhee was his boss.” This time there was a loud rumble and laugher as people shouted out the moderator’s error.

Posted by: efavorite | July 31, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

How many blacks are on the Washington Post Editoral Board or is it all white?

Posted by: Ward4DC | July 31, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

After reading the Post editorial one should read Colby King’s column. The issue isn't Michelle Rhee. If after 4 years we haven't institutionalized some of the education reform changes there is a bigger problem than we know. Both Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray have pledged to continue education reform. In actuality we have seen that Vincent Gray knows more about it than Adrian Fenty who even dodged an education debate. I want Michelle Rhee to stay and continue the work she has started but whether or not she does after her Labor Day wedding to the Mayor of Sacramento is up in the air no matter who wins the Mayoral election.

We know the budget; even if it needs Council approval is set by the Mayor. Adrian Fenty budgets used gimmicks and used 40% of the general fund balance reserve. Buying community support by saying yes to every new program, building a new library at the same time you are cutting staff and hours at every old library in the District is questionable. If you approve a take-over of Greater Southeast Hospital, now United Medical Center, when the CFO tells you the purchaser’s finances aren’t stable you end up with the City again running a hospital after spending a $100 million dollars. Use the summer youth program to curry favor and don't create real and meaningful jobs and then overspend it by $20 million dollars shows you don't understand budgeting. Give contracts to your crony’s with 10% overrides you don't understand budgeting. Signing a teacher's union contract and not knowing where the money to pay for it is shows you don't understand budgets.

Adrian Fenty's promises haven't been kept. He pretended a connection to people who he now generally sees as simply a waste of his time to deal with.

Vince Gray actually says to groups "what you want is important, but we don't have the money to do it". That is the political courage we need to right-size the District’s budget. It is why Alice Rivlin has endorsed him.

Fenty has taken us back to the late Barry years. Contracts to cronies and budgets leading us into bankruptcy.

Fenty shouldn't be rewarded with a second term. He will either say he lied and just promised more of the same to get elected or we will really get more of the same and the District will spend itself back into bankruptcy.

Either scenario is dangerous.

Posted by: peterdc | July 31, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

politicalrealist, a member of King Fenty's family. This is why he's always up in Fenty's behind kissing it. I wonder how many city contracts are going his way?

Posted by: Ward4DC | July 31, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The Post's description of Vincent Gray's campaign being run on "animus against Fenty" is grossly inaccurate.

The truth of the matter is Fenty himself has engendered the animosity of the voters through his callous disregard for all D.C. citizens. As the Post accurately notes, Fenty's conduct as Mayor has been shrouded in secrecy and marred by cronyism. Most importantly, Fenty's behavior illustrates perfectly that he thinks he rules the District -- he has not effectively governed at all.

Let's stop pretending all attacks on the Mayor are personal. The same charges were leveled against Linda Cropp during the 2006 campaign, when she questioned Fenty's ethics regarding his misappropriation (or mismanagement) of the funds of elderly clients. If allegations prove to be true, then personal behavior should be part of the campaign.

Frankly, personal ethics will guide one's professional ethics, so we cannot simply ignore Fenty's petulant behavior. It is no minor transgression when a sitting Mayor chooses to withhold tickets from the City Council because he wants to punish those who differ politically. We can only expect more of the same if Fenty is re-elected.

People keep clamoring for a response from candidate Gray regarding Michelle Rhee. That is a ridiculous question that no candidate should have to answer at this time. The bottom line is there are political appointments who serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. When candidate Gray is elected mayor -- then ask these questions.

Posted by: sheridaw | July 31, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well put, Mo Elleithee, Gray has this Ward 6 vote.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 31, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

You guys got political realist on the defensive, and in a big way. A sign he knows it is the beginning of the end for his boy mayor.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 31, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

“How to Get a Sweet Wash Post Editorial
Posted by Mike DeBonis on Oct. 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm"

"In case you were doubting the tight relationship between the Washington Post editorial board and the upper echelons of the Fenty administration---particularly schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee---check this e-mail, sent on Oct. 5 from Rhee to embattled parks-and-rec director-designee Ximena Hartsock: impartial impartial
Spoke to Wapo ed board folks about you today. Told them you are the most qualified person possible, that you have amazing capacity and that everything you do has your hallmark of excellence. They'll write a good piece for tomorrow.” impartial"

Also note, Rhee's ex-husband, Kevin Huffman, works for the Wapo ed board.

Posted by: GoldCoast | July 31, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Gray has this Ward 4 voter....and everyone else I know too.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | July 31, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Every time the word "holistic" is mentioned I start to cringe.

Posted by: delray | August 1, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Serously, any educated person that votes for Gray needs to re-evaluate their lives. The man stands for nothing. " Running the I am not Fenty" show is old. What does he stand for? He has yet to provide us with his vision for the city. Thats because he does not have one.
Lets not forget his waffling on the Street Car decision. As soon as he realized their were more supporters for the street cars than he thought and he received over 300 e-mail responses of anger within an hour,he reversed course and "found" money. Dont be bamboozled people. This man will say and do anything to get elected. If he is elected he will surely reverse course on the street car decision and continue to hold the city back from making progress.

The man is almost 70 years old with no forward thinking. That is why he cannot provide a vision for the city and answer the tough questions. Read up and become educated.
He often says that Mayor Fenty is not doing anything. Then why now is he coming to every major ribbon cutting or ground breaking that the Mayor has. If nothing is being accomplished why is he trying to share in the credit.

The man has hardly stepped foot East of the River except to go home in Ward 7 at night. He has rarely been in Ward 8 at all in the last 2 years. Now all of a sudden he comes to all of the Mayors appearances in Ward 8. what a joke. Just look at the facts. Check it out for yourselves.
Say what you will, Fenty gets results. He makes hard decisins that everyone knows that Gray does not have the stomach to make.

Anyone that has lived in this city knows that NOTHING was getting built or re-vitalized in this city prior to the Fenty administration!!(Williams was starting it, but not at the pace of Fenty)

Lets face it unless you want the school system to become a joke again,
crime to rise and the rapid pace of rec centers built and re-vitalized to stop and over all economic development to cease, then you know who the better candidate is.

This is clearly style versus substance. Gray has all the style(however a brutal temper)but absolutely no substance) Fenty has all the substance and may need to work on his public style I admit. But at the end of the day do you want your kids to go to schools that are broken because of style? do you want them to be afaid to go out because of style?

Take the emotions out of the decision.... It's not even close is it. You have a Doer versus a Dreamer.

Let get real people. Fenty is the absolute clear choice.

Posted by: ata1 | August 2, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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